Blackburn Bucks Party on Romney Tax Returns

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Ever the trend-bucker, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has distanced herself from her Republican peers who are calling for presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to release more of his tax returns, saying that the candidate (under fire for apparently fudging campaign finance disclosure documents about his time at Bain Capital, and potentially, for evading taxation in 2009) has done enough already.

On a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee, Talking Points Memo reports that Blackburn offered the following rationale:

“It was my understanding that Gov. Romney has released the information on [bundlers], all the paperwork has been filled out on people that are raising money for him,” Blackburn told TPM on the call. “And then also when it comes to tax returns, it’s my understanding that the governor has released the same amount of tax returns as Sen. McCain had released. And quite frankly, what the American people are talking about is not tax returns, what they’re talking about is jobs and the economy.” (McCain, however was another anomaly: As the Washington Post noted, John Kerry, Al Gore, George W. Bush, Bob Dole, Bill Clinton and Michael Dukakis all released many years of tax returns.)

The Obama campaign regularly releases the names of bundlers who raise huge amounts for the reelection effort’s coffers. So far the Romney campaign has declined to do the same, forcing news outlets to forge together their own lists from publicly available finance information.

Republicans and the Romney campaign are using Obama’s bundler transparency against him, calling on the president to release more information about how people who raised big money for his campaign ended up with government grants. Fact-checkers have dismissed Romney’s charge that cronyism is behind grants to companies like Solyndra.

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